The Secret of Secrets

Dan Brown

Lesson time 02:57 min

Dan provides parting words of wisdom and encouragement and reveals the never-before-seen artifact he promised to share in the first lesson of his class.

Dan Brown
Teaches Writing Thrillers
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.
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At the beginning of this MasterClass, I made a promise to you. I told you that I would admit something to you that I had never admitted to anyone, and that I would show you an artifact that only I had seen. And of course, we know how important keeping promises is to the storytelling process. So I want to do that now. After I wrote "The Da Vinci Code" and it became so popular, I sat down to write my next novel. And I very quickly discovered that it was much harder than I thought to write when you know that a lot of people are going to read what you've written. It turned out to be a six-year process. And about three years into it, I was really questioning whether or not I could do it. And I decided to try to trick myself into believing that I had already written the book. And I thought this book was going to be called "The Secret of Secrets." And so what I did is I actually created the book. I created an artifact right here, "The Secret of Secrets." What this book is, I'm not even sure what book it is. I just stuck a fake cover on the front of this. I made this on my computer. And every morning, I would sit down and I would hold this book, and I would say, well, I can feel the weight of the book. I can see the book. It actually already exists. All I have to do is write it. And as a little bit of extra impetus, a little bit of extra enthusiasm, I printed a copy of the New York Times bestseller list. And I photoshopped "The Secret of Secrets" into the number one spot trying to convince myself that the book had already been written, had already been published, and was already successful. This was just a trick to get me through that really tough time in writing a novel. And the reason I'm telling you this is that writing a novel is an enormous undertaking, and self-doubt will be part of that process. There will be days you just don't know if you can do it. And on those dates, what is going to save you is your process, your ritual. So if you're just starting to write a novel, go create that process. Go create that ritual. And if you are in the middle of a novel right now, recommit to that ritual. And I wish you the very best of luck.

Craft page-turning suspense

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I loved Dan's pragmatism. He's inspired me to just get on with my creative projects.

I am currently working on my first piece of fiction and this helped in so many ways. There were things I was unsure of, that were reinforced. Best of all Dan Brown one of my favorite authors really enjoys Robert Ludlum, another one of my favorite authors.

I just finished my first novel. Dan Brown's suggestions will definitely make my second one better. Great course.

I enjoyed hearing his process and reinforcing that if anyone is going to begin writing it doesn't happen in a vacuum. There is a process that must happen and there is no right or wrong way of doing it.


Velma B.

Going back to the beginning, where can find Chapter 10? This has been an awesome learning experience.

Cheryl C.

Outstanding Class! Incredibly motivating in helping me overcome my self doubt during my editing process. Looking forward to using a great deal of the advice that Dan Brown gives during this course. Well worth the price of admission.

Keeper C.

Outstanding Master Class. Being a first-time writer, it answered many questions that had been swirling in my head, causing doubt during my six-year writing journey. For me, the critical lesson was the editing process. I needed to hear that badly. I decided to view the entire class first without doing any of the homework just so I could get a feel for what was going on. Now I will go back and watch the whole course and do the homework with a clear mind and without stress. This being my first MasterClass, it did not disappoint. Thanks for pulling back the curtain Dan Brown!


The book and review were really clever. An email always reads differently AFTER you have hit send. A second thesis is soooo much easier than the first. Tricking your mind into behaving like this is your SECOND successful novel is brilliant! Thanks for this, it was totally worthwhile.


Loved this class! It's helped me remain focused on my project and shown me new tools I can use to improve it. Thanks for everything! Oh, loved the exit, by the way.

Shalini P.

Loved taking this class! I've been reading his books since 8th grade, and now I am able to learn from him too. Gained some wonderful insights into his process... Hoping it'll help me in my next project. :)

Nikota K.

I have learned so much and have taken an exorbitant amount away from this Masterclass. Thank you, Dan Brown, for sharing your wisdom with us and reminding us all what a true accomplishment it is to write.

Tom W.

Dan Brown succinctly encapsulated his process in writing and I think many writers will find value not only in the nuggets he has to offer, but also realizing that major authors continually drop into the same pitfalls that we do, such as realizing something we've written isn't good enough. His advice to be hard on the process and easy on the outcome is gold, because it flies in the face of so many how-to books that emphasize so many words or pages per day. I look forward to enjoying more of the Master Classes.

Carolyn B.

This was my first Masterclass and I'm grateful that it could be with Dan Brown. His experience and enthusiasm for sharing has been a pivotal piece of a puzzle for me. It's one thing to feel the need to write and tell a story but it's another to have the courage and know-how to start. I appreciate the 'one on one' lessons as opposed to being lost among throngs of people. This was a snapshot into the life of a successful writer, which in itself is invaluable to someone who wants to write but grapples with the enormity of it. Honestly, Dan's personality and encouragement made a difference. My biggest takeaway was 'process' and the most eye-opening was his 4am commitment and self discipline. I know I will be revisiting this many times...


After finishing, I realized that in this man's continuous smile lies the passion for what one does and the kindness that so characterizes a human being. Two qualities that are undoubtedly part of his success. I have learned a lot from the artist, but in his body language and enthusiasm in wanting to communicate how he writes, so that we can be better, I learned a lot more from the man. Thank you, Dan.